Previous Year’s Chicago Open “More Swiss” Round by Round Results (Updated to Include 2019)
May 28, 2019

2019 Chicago Open SurveyMonkey results with Director comments

2019 Chicago Open Survey Results…

Let me preface the survey results by announcing to everyone that we will be changing hotels in 2020. Next year the 40th Chicago Open Backgammon Tournament will be hosted at the Sheraton Suites Chicago O’Hare, right next door to the previous location. The Sheraton Suites has agreed to allow me to continue providing the hospitality. For me, this is a huge win! I desperately wanted to continue the tradition I have built in making the Chicago Open a most unique tournament with the hospitality. I will continue to provide lunches and dinners however the hotel will now provide breakfast. It will be a hot breakfast buffet; not just the continental breakfast I had been serving. I will be purchasing smoked salmon to accompany the bagels and cream cheese on the hotel buffet. I vow to those of you who missed out on the smoked salmon in 2019 that we will not run out in 2020. The new hotel will have a higher rate $124 (up from $109) but will include the breakfast for 2 people. The Sheraton Hotel went through a complete renovation in 2018 and looks great. The quality of this hotel from the meeting rooms to the sleeping rooms to the included breakfast will all be dramatic improvements.

Q1 How would you rate your overall Experience at the 39th Chicago Open Backgammon Tournament? 5-Point scale

5 or 4             94%

3 or 2             5%

1                     1%

Q2 Overall, how would you rate the efficiency of this year’s tournament? 5-Point scale

5 or 4             92%

3 or 2             7%

1                     1%

Q3 Overall, how would you rate the value for the money spent all weekend? 5-Point scale

5 or 4              88%

3 or 2              11%

1                      1%

Director Comments on Q1-3
I am very happy with these results. I feel the data shows that for the most part I am organizing and running the Chicago Open in a manner that people appreciate and find great value in. I will continue to try and find ways to add value while making the changes that have become an absolute necessity due to the growth of the Chicago Open over the past few years.

Q4 Please rate each of the meals included in the Hospitality…

Meal Excellent/Very Good Good Fair/Poor
Daily Breakfast         61% 25% 14%
Thursday Night BBQ 86% 14% 0%
Friday Night Chinese 65% 26% 9%
Saturday Lunch Bari Sandwiches 54% 26% 11%
Sunday Turkish Luncheon 70% 20% 10%
Sunday Dinner Pizza 51% 36% 13%
Monday Lunch Quiznos Sandwiches 58% 33% 9%

Director Comments on Q4
As previously mentioned, the breakfast will now be a hot buffet served by the hotel. The Bari sandwiches and pizza will be changed. The pizza will be replaced with a taco dinner while I am still considering all options for the new lunch. The Chinese food will have more premium options (i.e. potsticker appetizer & shrimp entree). On Friday, a new grab and go lunch will also be added along with a cocktail/hor d’oeuvres reception in the late afternoon/early evening.

Q5 Please rate each of the daily snacks and beverages included in the Hospitality…

Snack/Beverage Excellent/Very Good Good Fair/Poor
Veggie Platters with Hummus & Spinach Dip 76% 18% 6%
Meat and Cheese Platters 64% 28% 8%
Misc. Snacks (Candy, Granola Bars, Trail Mix, Pretzels, etc.) 76% 19% 5%
Coffee, Tea, & Hot Chocolate 69% 22% 9%
Iced Tea and Lemonade 77% 20% 3%
Soft Drinks 74% 24% 2%

Director Comments on Q5
The biggest critique people had with the hospitality was with the lack of diet sodas. I promise more diet sodas will be available next year. We will not run out! The Veggie platter, and meat and cheese offerings will be expanded. Next year will upgrade the coffee for a 2nd time in 3 years. Yesterday, I purchased another coffee brewer. In 2020, we will have both a dark roast and a breakfast blend available. I will also expand the selection of hot teas. If you have a specific request, please feel free to contact me directly to share. I am happy to make any reasonable change/accommodation.

Q6 How would you rate the value received for the $60 Hospitality Fee (Food & beverage)?   5-Point scale

5 or 4             79%

3 or 2             16%

1                     5%

Q7 Did you feel the hospitality provided enough healthy options?

Yes                 86%

No                  14%

Director Comments on Q6-7
Although there will be a cost increase in 2020, the upgrades and additions should increase the perceived value.

Q8 How would you rate the hotel location? 5-Point scale

5 or 4             90%

3 or 2             6%

1                     4%

Director Comments on Q8
No change in location as the new hotel is next door to the previous location.

Q9 What did you like most about the event?

Format           65%

Variety            26%

Social             22%

Hospitality     16%

Efficiency      16%

Streaming      2%

Q10 Do you have any suggestions for improving the Chicago Open Backgammon Tournament?

Playing Space                                  65%

Efficiency of Swiss Pairings           17%

Noise level                                        10%

Hospitality                                         5%

Disrespect from Director                 5%

More Clocks                                       5%

LJP no Open Players                       3%

Entrée Fees to high                        1%

Calcutta format                                1%

Director Comments on Q10
Playing space issue solved with move to the new hotel.

Efficiency of Swiss Pairings will be improved as a program is being written to automate the process.

Noise level will be greatly improved as the swiss pairings will be shown on giant screens. The Open division will be at one end of the playing room while the Intermediate will be at the other end. Also, tables will be numbered. The pairings will have a table number. Proceed to the table to locate your opponent. No more calling out players names. First round pairings of other events will likely go up on the big screen as well.

Hospitality Changes have already been mentioned above.

Disrespect from Director is unacceptable regardless of circumstance. I apologize to any person or persons who I offended. Fortunately there were only a few players who felt this way. That being said, any number greater than zero is infinitely more than I ever intended. I have made significant changes to my tournament in 2020 in order to reduce my stress level. I hope this alleviates any chance of poor tone and/or choice of words from me.

Clocks, the only comments with regards to clocks is that we should have had more or they should have been forced in more situations. This will happen in 2020.

LJP no Open Players. Open level players will no longer be eligible to enter the LJP. There will be a new Open Jackpot for those interested.

Calcutta format will change significantly next year. Details will follow.

Q11 How likely are you to recommend the Chicago Open to other backgammon players?

Very Likely or Likely                        97%

Neither Likely nor Unlikely             3%

Unlikely or Very Unlikely                0%

Director Comments on Q11


  1. Tom Head says:

    Do you do this all by yourself? Big job for one person and no helpers.

  2. Recording is getting more and more popular. Please keep in mind that once someone set up his equipment, it is very difficult for him to relocate. So, table numbering sounds good as long as those recording their matches are not forced to move. On a side note, I think this is one of the best tournament in USA and from what I can see, Rory is working hard trying to improve it. If you had never attended this event I encourage you to do so.

    • Rory Pascar says:

      Dmitriy, I already have a plan in place to handle this. There will be dedicated recording stations and players set up there will not be expected to move.

  3. Nancy Takala says:

    Rory … I think your tournament was outstanding! I appreciate your humbleness as to the “tone of the Director”. I wasn’t affected, however, it reveals great character strength to admit mistakes and take action to change. Hats Off! The Chicago Open is truly a Class Act!

    • Rory Pascar says:

      Nancy, I recognize that there are many ways to improve the Chicago Open. Self improvement is definitely one of them. I have many great plans for next year. I hope you come back to see them!

      • April Kennedy says:

        I really like that you are keeping the Limited Jackpot, more limited next year. It is important to have side events for developing players.

  4. David Winn says:

    Rory always runs a great tournament. Having 3 meals per day is a nice bonus that I haven’t see elsewhere. Also, Chicago is central and very convenient. Only a 2 hour flight from Austin. I hope to make this tournament every year.

    • Rory Pascar says:

      David, Thank you for the kind words! As I have already stated I have many new ideas to make next year’s tournament even better. I will reveal them one by one as the details for each are finalized. I hope to see you in LA in December. I am sure Candace will have some great things planned as well.

  5. Joseph Russell says:

    I look forward to attending the next tournament. Rory is doing all the right things to ensure he delivers a tournament product that satisfies his player base.

  6. Roberto Litzenberger says:

    As always I love this tourney. If my children aren’t graduating or best friends getting married, I always make this tourney. Rory and team do a great job and I love that he is always striving to improve. Always a lot of backgammon. I look forward to returning in 2020.

    • Rory Pascar says:

      I appreciate your support of the Chicago Open year after year. Moreso I appreciate your friendship. The quality of your game is catching up to the quality person you are.

  7. Joe Feldman says:

    Although I had to cancel my plans to play this year, I have attended the tournament three previous times. Rory has always put on a well run and fun tournament. I always highly recommend the event to people with the minor caveats that the playing room gets tight, some players get frustrated about whom Rory will allow into which section, and that Rory’s personality has a very, very sharp edge. It’s nice to hear Rory has fixed the first problem and it takes a lot of character to admit to and try to improve the third problem. It’s hard to run a perfect tournament and impossible to make everyone happy. Additionally, there are moments when things can get very stressful, so it’s important to cut Rory a little slack. I look forward to the announced improvements and to playing next year.

    • Rory Pascar says:

      Joe, I really appreciate those comments. I am always striving to improve myself and the Chicago Open…so many great things planned for next year.

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